Nature versus Nurture

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Nature and Nurture

The debate of nature and nurture is a longstanding discussion in psychology and other related fields that centers on the relative importance of genetic factors versus environmental factors in determining human behavior and development. Those who argue for the "nature" side of the debate suggest that genetic factors such as inherited genes and biology play a significant role in determining things like personality, intelligence, and behavior. (Honeycutt, 2019). On the other hand, those who argue for the "nurture" side of the debate suggest that environmental factors such as upbringing, culture, and personal experiences have a more significant influence on human behavior and development. (Honeycutt, 2019). It is now widely embraced that both nature and nurture have an essential impact on human development. Studies have shown that genetics influence certain traits, such as intelligence and personality, but environmental factors also play a significant role. For example, children born with a genetic predisposition to intelligence may not fully realize their potential if they do not have access to good educational opportunities. Similarly, children raised in adverse environments may struggle to overcome the negative effects of their upbringing, even if they have a genetic predisposition to resilience.

I think I can embrace that both nature and nurture impact human development simply because they interact in developing certain behaviors and disorders. For example, while a genetic predisposition may make a person more susceptible to developing a mental illness, environmental factors such as stress and trauma can also significantly trigger symptoms' onset. Furthermore, genetics may play a role in determining an individual's potential for athletic ability, but the person will not develop that potential without proper training and conditioning. Similarly, genetics may provide a foundation for cognitive skills such as memory and problem-solving, but education and other environmental factors can significantly enhance these abilities.

After reading the text, my thought did not change as it states that genetics and environment both play a role in human development, and how they interact is not always straightforward. Epigenetics, the study of how environmental factors can influence the expression of genes, has shown that the relationship between nature and nurture is more complex than previously thought. This, to some extent, embraces my initial thought of nature and nurture.

Recent research has continued to explore the complex relationship between nature and nurture in developing specific behavioral traits. A study published in 2017 in the journal "Nature Human Behavior" found that genetic factors account for about 40-50% of the variation in aggressive behavior. (Robins (2021). However, the study also found that environmental factors such as childhood maltreatment and low parental warmth play a significant role in the development of aggression. This suggests that while genetics may make a person more susceptible to aggressive behavior, environmental factors can also significantly trigger or exacerbate the trait.

The research I did was a study published in 2019 in the journal "Nature," which found that genetic factors impact the occurrence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with common genetic variants accounting for around 38% of the risk of developing the disorder. However, the study also found that de novo genetic mutations, which occur spontaneously and are not inherited, also impact the development of ASD. (Curatolo, (2019). These environmental factors influence mutations, such as maternal infection during pregnancy. This suggests that while genetics is a considerable risk factor for the development of autism, environmental factors also initiate the occurrence of the disorder.

In conclusion, the research was consistent with my belief that nature and nurture impact human development and that the relationship between the two is complex and multifaceted. Embracing this understanding can help us better understand the individual differences that make each person unique and develop more effective interventions and treatments for disorders and developmental difficulties. After reading about the Lifespan of human development, I found how individuals change and grow. Lifespan, human development theory, generally emphasizes the interaction between nature and nurture, with genetic and environmental factors playing important roles in shaping human development throughout life (Sigelman, C.K & Rider, E. A 2014). It suggests that nature and nurture are important in understanding development and interact in complex ways to shape how we grow and change throughout our lives.


Jackson, Llewellyn & Smith, (2020). The obesity epidemic–Nature via nurture: A narrative review of high-income countries.  SAGE available medicine8, 2050312120918265.

Houma, Ronda & Rosholm (2020). The nurture of nature and the nature of nurture: How genes and investments interact in developing skills.

Emberti Gialloreti, Mazzone, Benvenuto, Fasano, Garcia Alcon, Kraneveld, A., … & Curatolo, (2019). Risk and protective environmental factors associated with autism spectrum disorder: evidence-based principles and recommendations. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(2), 217.

Atherton, Sutin, A., Terracciano & Robins (2021). Stability and Change in the Big Five Across Adulthood: Findings from a Longitudinal Study of Mexican-Origin Individuals.

Honeycutt, (2019). Nature and nurture as an enduring tension in the history of psychology. In  Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology.

Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, (2014). Lifespan human development. Cengage Learning.